Classical music

Was this Danish composer (who founded a Boring Music Society) a neglected genius?

1 April 2017 9:00 am

It’s always promising when the orchestra won’t fit on the stage. For the UK première, some 97 years after it…

Slyly surreal: Christopher Alden’s Partenope at ENO

Denial has rarely looked so good: ENO’s Partenope reviewed

25 March 2017 9:00 am

Ceci n’est pas une Partenope. Forget the warring classical kingdoms of Naples and Cumae: this is surrealist Paris in the…

Time to retire: pianist Maurizio Pollini at the Royal Festival Hall in March 2016

Maurizio Pollini needs to retire

25 March 2017 9:00 am

There’s a moment in the finale of Beethoven’s Appassionata sonata when the frenzied piano writing turns unexpectedly jolly. The late…

Did Igor Levit’s latest Beethoven recital deserve to be booed?

4 March 2017 9:00 am

Nothing pleased Iannis Xenakis more than a great big rattling storm. The sound of a thunderclap would have him running…

‘Portrait of a Musician’, thought to be Claudio Monteverdi, c.1590, by a Cremonese artist

The true radical genius of Monteverdi is not in the operas but in the madrigals

18 February 2017 9:00 am

On his 450th anniversary, Alexandra Coghlan celebrates the composer’s remarkable musical prescience

Not many concerts should be as devastating as this: Philharmonia Orchestra/Nelsons reviewed

28 January 2017 9:00 am

It used to be said that Bruckner composed the same symphony nine times, whereas, thanks to the comparative frequency of…

Does Radio 3 really need to tiptoe around every controversy?

21 January 2017 9:00 am

This week the Southbank Centre began its ‘Belief and Beyond Belief’ festival — a series of concerts and talks claiming…

Nonsense squared: Alice’s Adventures Under Ground reviewed

31 December 2016 9:00 am

Gerald Barry loved playing organ for Protestants as they allowed him a lie in. Then they found out he wasn’t…

Soldiers on the Western Front celebrating Christmas Day in a shell hole partly occupied by the grave of a comrade

The muddy, bloody origins of a treasured Christmas Eve ritual

10 December 2016 9:00 am

Alexandra Coghlan reveals the muddy, bloody origins of a treasured Christmas Eve ritual

A surprising number of great composers were fond of the bottle – but can you hear it?

10 December 2016 9:00 am

‘Brahms and Liszt’ is a lovely bit of rhyming slang, but it doesn’t have the ring of authenticity. Can you…

Why boredom is good for us

26 November 2016 9:00 am

When did you last experience a boring Sunday afternoon? If you’re over 16, probably not since you were last 16…

I always thought the North and classical music didn’t mix

12 November 2016 9:00 am

Years ago, when I met a famous concert pianist, I was surprised when he greeted me in a northern accent.…

Charles Own performing at the London Piano Festival, Kings Place. Photo: Amy T. Zielinski/Redferns

Life’s too short for ‘well-crafted’ pieces by musical mediocrities – and Handel

15 October 2016 9:00 am

There’s a folder in my computer’s external hard drive in which you’ll find 24 complete recordings of the Bach Cello…

Performing the Goldberg Variations on the piano involves too many compromises

1 October 2016 9:00 am

The churning, rheumatic mechanism of a harpsichord — notes needling your ears like drops of acid rain — doesn’t necessarily…

Why are so many composers drawn to the Stabat Mater?

1 October 2016 9:00 am

Music likes to tell the same story over and over again. This is part of its tradition but even individual…

It’s hard to justify spending money on Radio 3 – but here’s why we must

24 September 2016 9:00 am

We now think of Radio 3 as the music station, but when it was created in 1946 as the Third…

The day I tried to rescue the alcoholic former Master of the Queen’s Music

10 September 2016 9:00 am

I was looking forward to going to Malcolm Williamson’s opera English Eccentrics set to a text by Edith Sitwell at…

Grand visions: Birmingham’s Bull Ring shopping centre in 1965, a year after completion

Birmingham can be maddening – but culturally it has a lot to teach London

27 August 2016 9:00 am

On Saturday night, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra makes its first appearance at the BBC Proms under its new…

Show your colours: a digital visualisation of this year’s Edinburgh International Festival’s closing light display

Scotland’s cultural scene is becoming vile, venal and parochial

13 August 2016 9:00 am

Many years ago an arts spokesperson for the SNP launched an extraordinary attack on Scottish Opera, saying, ‘If push comes…

Thomas Adès bottles it in his new opera: The Exterminating Angel reviewed

6 August 2016 9:00 am

In Luis Buñuel’s 1962 film, the ‘exterminating angel’ of the title is a mystery illness. A debilitating virus — much…

Igor Stravinsky’s body being carried through Venice to the Basilica of San Zanipolo, where, by papal dispensation, a Russian Orthodox service was held

Southbank’s ‘Belief and Beyond Belief’ series is beyond parody

23 July 2016 9:00 am

A forthcoming ‘festival’ at the Southbank Centre exposes the secular mindset of Britain’s arts establishment, says Damian Thompson

‘We definitely do not live in an avant-garde era’: Pierre-Laurent Aimard interview

11 June 2016 9:00 am

A decade ago, the French pianist and poly-math Pierre-Laurent Aimard announced that he was ‘very bored to live in a…

Not a repertory piece but in its dignity it earns respect: Royal Opera’s Oedipe reviewed

28 May 2016 9:00 am

For years I have been telling people that they should listen to, in the absence of staged performances, Enescu’s opera…

‘His operas offer a straightforward experience’

Verdi’s works are more entertainment than art

21 May 2016 9:00 am

Verdi has a peculiar if not unique place in the pantheon of great composers. If you love classical music at…

Our neglect of this great working-class British composer is a disgrace

14 May 2016 9:00 am

One of the greatest choral symphonies of the 20th century, entitled Das Siegeslied (Psalm of Victory), has been heard only…